Easter 2021 was a bit different than last year. One year ago at this time, the entire country was shut down, businesses and restaurants were closed, church services cancelled, and schools were a ghost town. However I noticed one thing very common in last year and this year’s Easter celebrations, and it’s the same thing I’ve noticed for years, and that is, “you can’t cancel Easter,” no matter how hard you try. The sun rose that morning just like it did this year and Jesus was still the king when it set just like every other day.
Let’s notice something together about the hill called Golgotha where Jesus suffered and died, and that fact is he was not on the platform alone. He centered himself between two thieves. One on his left and the other at his right. Today’s church population is represented on that hill 2,000 years ago. Jesus took center stage completely innocent of all charges and without sin. The church that surrounded him on either side, however, were not without sin. They were admitted criminals and, by their own admission, deserved their punishment as recorded in the gospels. There on that hill called the skull, the real church was exposed. We are prideful, full of sin, and guilty of punishment, and nothing could change their sentence, and nothing can change ours, except for the man in the middle. The church represented that day is no different than the modern church of 2021 and that is - without Jesus we are all guilty and going to hell.
Here’s the main ingredient I would like to make mention and that is - only half the population of the guilty accepted Christ or even asked for repentance that day. Two men hung dying on a cross in public fashion, while the embodied presence of God was within a soft whisper away, and one half of them refused salvation. Jesus told the repentant criminal that his sins would not be charged against him and that because of his new found freedom that he would receive paradise that very day. Did you catch that? One half of the church population received Christ while the other half rejected him. These statistics represent the very heart of the church today. We see the king exalted each week, we experience his presence, and we see lives changed, yet one half will reject him.
Then there was the world around the church represented by those in the crowd. The soldiers that divided his belongings, in John 19:23, can be a stark reminder of those of us who want to cherry pick from Jesus. These are the ones that pick and choose what scriptures they can benefit from and disregard the rest. We make ourselves judge and convict one person of the same sin we acquit ourselves of. Once again, these men stood next to, touched, and felt the presence of God, yet they stole from him what they wanted and left unchanged. Then there’s the women. All that remained of his loyal followers consisted of a group of women and one lone disciple named John, in verses 25-27. I think it very fitting to notice that the church world today still has difficulty with women in ministry roles, yet the faithful at the cross outnumbered the men that day four to one.
The rest of the crowd that day called themselves followers or spectators. Either way, they witnessed from a distance, never allowing themselves to experience the true presence of God. Maybe we have too many people in this world content with hearing the gospel or even seeing the gospel instead of experiencing the gospel. Four women, one disciple, a centurion, and one lone thief was all that truly experienced Christ in his fullest that day.
Jesus told the Pharisees a few days earlier, in Luke 19:40, that if his worshippers failed to make him known, then the very rocks would cry out. In the book of Matthew 27, verses 51 and 52, this statement proves to be true upon the death of Jesus. The world became silent, and the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs were opened, and those righteous of the Lord that were dead and buried were brought to life. The earth is one giant stone. Rocks are the exposed part of the foundation of the earth, and tombs were carved into and sealed with stones, and they all cried out at the very moment Jesus died. Not only could they not contain their praise but all they held inside of them that was dead was given life.
What are you holding inside that seems dead? What is fighting for life or struggling to breathe? The moment we move from hearing the gospel to experiencing the gospel is the moment dead things come to life. It’s the moment of freedom from the tomb of silence and fear. Half the church rejected Jesus on the day of his crucifixion, and, of those that remained, only a small handful had the fortitude to stand firm, and the majority of those were women. Stop trying to pick a social or political agenda and simply take a risk on the cross. It’s where all the cool kids are found. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. We are Christpoint Church. And we will see you on the square at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., this Sunday, and 6 p.m., this Wednesday. Welcome home.